The Javits center went the length of the block, like a glass ship in wet dock ready to be released into the Hudson. Manhattan was under construction with scaffold and skip lifts covering steel structures hooked to the bedrock below. Surrounded by every major brand BMW Motorrad stood tall at the 2017 Progressive Motorcycle Show in New York City. Each company put forth their best interpretation of what a GS would be. Riders gravitated to the 850 GS with its ocean blue matte finish and it’s iso-mounted multifunction display. It looked like it was ready to snap saplings on singletracks in the whilliwacks. “Say Braaap” I yelled taking a picture of a future owner. The R1200GSP faced the flank on its centerstand. A tactical tool fit to rip like a heat seeking missile with criminals in its crosshairs. Riders threw their leg over an RR and were fitted with VR goggles to go for their own ride. While the factory race bike remained on a rotating platform unmolested by the throngs dragging their heels on every panier they could. Pack mentality ruled for local biker gangs. Hells Angels, Gunslingers, Outlaws, all tatted up walking in packs with name and rank displayed on vest front. They lingered longer at the custom bike builds that surrounded the exhibits picking one to vote for on their smartphones (no longer a contradiction), than they did at the K1600B bagger. On her side stand the bagger was black as night. Black as squid ink ready to leave the pack behind vanishing on the horizon with a sliver of silver reflecting headlights that pass. 18 year old Grace MacIntosh mounted the 310GS. This time she would be no pillion. This time it is her ride, not on Dad’s back carving his way through the Tail of the Dragon. “What you do you think about BMW dropping the weight and CC range” I asked. “I love it, I love it alot” she replied, “It means I might actually be able to get a bike”. She went on: “I like that it’s really inexpensive, and that I could actually afford it. I like the fact that it is small but also peppy, I feel like it can get around and keep up with bigger bikes, which is cool “ she laughed. “Is this the kind of bike that can keep dad and daughter together?” I asked. “Hopefully yeah” She laughed. Grace’s Dad let her enjoy the moment he looked on in proud silence. This was a true rite of passage.
A television show was being shot on stage while crowds poured over brands and vendors. I got a chance to visit with Mike Buckley from Dunlop. I shared with him how excited I was about the prospect of the Road Smart 3 tire. I have had a habit of premature tire wear with a couple other brands. I would like to think that it is the crowned roads of VT that are so hard on rubber, but it probably has more to do with my right hand. Access to industry is one of the real benefits of attending a show like the Progressive. It is also a great opportunity to try on helmets, gloves, and jackets for the first time. No two bodies are alike, I tried the Sportmodular helmet from AGV. I explained the unique problem this product would solve for me to the factory rep. I travel across the border into Canada to see my close friends, with a modular, I will be able to leave my helmet on, and satisfy the customs agents need to see my face. Between my glasses, gloves and all the other gear helmet removal takes a lot of time. The agent usually says “take as long as you need”. It is a bit uncomfortable with traffic stacked up behind me. I also stopped to talk with Long Haul Paul Pelland and had to wait my turn. A tall rider with brown hair and a red sweater stood in silence. When he began to speak the noise of the show ceased. “I have had MS for twelve years” he said to Paul without crying. “I know what you are doing, by visiting patients in the hospital”. Pelland has found his purpose in life riding all over the country raising money to fight MS. “I once was told a cure for MS was a million miles away, so I figured I would just go and get it, and bring it back”. I did come home with a new pair of gloves from the show. My oldest daughter put them on the morning after I got home. She thought they looked like gloves for a superhero. That’s just fine with me.
|Javits Center NYC|
|Ready for patrol|
|Long Haul Paul's licence plate|
|My little Super hero|